Clerk of BC Legislative Assembly has one charge quashed, BCCA finds holding includes with your leg, and a Cathay Pacific class action
This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:
The former Clerk of the BC Legislative Assembly, Craig James, was successful in having one of the charges he was facing dismissed.
Mr. James was charged on a six-count direct indictment.
To be charged by direct indictment, either the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General need to provide their consent. When this happens, an accused person no longer has the right to elect what kind of trial they wish to have and there can no longer be a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Five of the charges on the direct indictment alleged specific wrongdoing, such as obtaining a benefit from the purchase and use of a trailer and wood splitter paid for with public funds.
The first charge, on the direct indictment, alleged that between September 10, 2011, and November 21, 2018, he did “commit breach of trust in connection with the duties of his office by using his position to advance his own personal interests of the public good, contrary to section 122 of the Criminal Code.”
The trial judge agreed that there were several challenges created by this charge.
The charge duplicated the other five charges, without adding anything new. It would have made the trial more complex for the jury and ran afoul of a principle that a charge should generally relate to a single transaction.
As a result, the trial judge exercised her authority to quash the count and manage the trial in a way that would be fair to Mr. James.
Also on the show, the BC Court of Appeal has concluded that the Motor Vehicle Act provisions that make it an offence to “hold” an electronic device while driving are not restricted to holding a device in your hands.
The driver in question had a phone wedged between his leg and the seat.
The Court of Appeal concluded that the ordinary grammatical meaning of the word “hold” and found that it can include “physically grasping, carrying, or supporting an electronic device with any part of one’s body in a position in which the device may be used.”
Finally, on the show, a judge has approved a settlement of a class action against Cathay Pacific Airways Limited as a result of a 2018 data breach that affected 9.4 million passengers worldwide.
Approximately 230,000 passengers were covered by the BC class action.
As a result of the data breach, names, passport numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data were exposed online.
When there is a proposed settlement of a class action a judge needs to determine if the settlement would be in the interest of the class members.
The judge is also required to approve legal fees and an honorarium for the person who served as the representative plaintiff and needed to spend time assisting with the case.
In the case discussed, a settlement of $1.55 million was approved and the representative plaintiff was provided with an additional $1,500 honorarium.
Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.